alexa New law to steer matatu sector - Daily Nation

New law to steer matatu sector

Monday September 30 2013

Operators of public transport vehicles will be licensed as corporate bodies, like companies or savings and credit societies, next year.  Smart driving licences will also replace manual permits in a bid to curb increased fatalities on the roads. PHOTO/FILE

Operators of public transport vehicles will be licensed as corporate bodies, like companies or savings and credit societies, next year. Smart driving licences will also replace manual permits in a bid to curb increased fatalities on the roads. PHOTO/FILE 

By MWANIKI WAHOME [email protected]

Operators of public transport vehicles will be licensed as corporate bodies, like companies or savings and credit societies, next year.

Smart driving licences will also replace manual permits in a bid to curb increased fatalities on the roads.

These are among a number of measures that aim to transform the management of public transport in the coming months as the government tries to bring order to the chaotic sector that has attracted investment from disparate groups and individuals.

Some of the laws are contained in the Operation of PSV Regulations 2013, expected to be gazetted soon.

Individual operators will not get licences in a move meant to shift responsibility for conduct on the road from the crew to the owners.

This follows an order by President Kenyatta to have vehicle owners take responsibility for the actions of their crew.

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Drivers will also undergo fresh mandatory training for driving skills and must pass physical fitness tests to be allowed to work in public transport.

“We are discussing regulations that will see licences issued to PSV operators as corporate bodies, like companies and saccos, who will take responsibility for the conduct of the crew.

WEEDING OUT OFFENDERS

When several of those in a company of, say, 50 are involved in accidents, we can withdraw the licence of the company or sacco,” National Transport and Safety Authority chairman Joseph Thuo said last week.

Companies and saccos will be expected to employ their crew on contract, with serial traffic offenders being weeded-out through tracing their biodata using a smart licence card.

This is among steps meant to introduce corporate governance principles in public transport, a path trodden by a few firms like the Kenya Bus Management Services and Double M, with mixed success.

This means that these entities will be required to enforce discipline since the conduct of one of their vehicles will have consequences for the rest.

To get approval, one must have a minimum of five vans. Those operating under franchise will have 25 vehicles under their management.

To deter whimsical increase in fares, the new regulations demand that vehicles display the rates and issue receipts to passengers.

The vehicles will also be required to fit their fleet with new tamper-proof speed governors that will record speed.

The current speed governors are almost ineffective.

“About 12 speed governor manufacturers were licensed but the problem occurred when 150 fitters were allowed, which made it difficult for anyone to take responsibility for the fitting and use of the gadgets,” said Speed Governors and Road Safety Association chairman Edward Gitonga.

New smart cards will be used for prosecution in court if drivers are involved in traffic offences.

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